Mark Bingham was a friend of ours here at Outsports. He was, from all that I knew of him, exactly the man he's been portrayed as by the media. While his contribution to gay rugby is well-known, it was his participation in gay flag football that we came to know Mark. He played for the San Francisco team, and our Los Angeles team had challenge matches against them in 2000 and in 2001, just a few months before his death.
My most vivid memory of Mark came in one of those games. We played in Golden Gate Park in early spring. I remember Mark catching a pass and rumbling free toward the end zone. He wasn't the fastest guy, but he was just about the strongest...while I chased him down, he stiff-armed me and we ran down the field with me at his arm's length from his flag. I ultimately tackled him just short of the end zone. It was particularly memorable for me because stiff-arming and tackling wasn't legal in our Los Angeles league...but those San Francisco boys played some rough "flag" football (no doubt influenced by Mark's rugby days).
It's been amazing to watch the world's embrace of Mark since that fateful day in 2001, including the rise of gay rugby's Bingham Cup. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, we'll be tracking some of the pieces written and produced highlighting Mark's life and his contribution that day. You can keep checking back for more: